CHURCH organisations in the Philippines are leading the rescue
and humanitarian drive after an earthquake struck the central
Visayas region on Monday of last week. At the time of writing, 56
people had died. A further 150 were unaccounted for, and there was
The earthquake hit Negros Oriental, particularly the provincial
capital of Dumaguete, where almost all the deaths occurred. Tremors
also rocked the country's second city, Cebu; Leyte Island; and
towns in northern Mindanao. An estimated 8000 families have been
Churches have spearheaded the relief operation. Dumaguete has a
large Protestant population, in what is the world's third-largest
Roman Catholic nation. Volunteers from the various Reformed
Churches and the RC Church have come into Negros to help provide
food relief, medical aid, and temporary shelters for displaced
The island of Negros was again affected by natural disaster
when, earlier this week, heavy rains caused severe flooding and
destruction. A total of 7000 families are currently homeless. The
natural protection against flooding which was afforded by wooded
areas is now gone after illegal deforestation.
Elsewhere, the country's Episcopal Church received a visit last
weekend from the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori.
She preached at a service in Bangao, Northern Luzon, attended by
800 people, where she called on the Church to embrace the gospel
message of reaching out to social outcasts and the disadvantaged.
She also urged the Church to make itself relevant by stepping up
relief to victims of poverty and disaster.